Economy of Curaçao

Curaçao has one of the highest standards of living in the Caribbean, ranking 46th in the world in terms of GDP (PPP) per capita and 28th in the world in terms of nominal GDP per capita. It possesses a high income economy, as defined by the World Bank. The island has a well-developed infrastructure with strong tourism and financial services sectors. Shipping, international trade, oil refining, and other activities related to the port of Willemstad (like the Free Trade Zone) also make a significant contribution to the economy. To achieve the government's aim to make its economy more diverse, efforts are being made to attract more foreign investment. This policy, called the 'Open Arms' policy, features a heavy focus on information technology companies.[3][4][5]

Economy of Curaçao
CurrencyNetherlands Antillean guilder (ANG)
Calendar Year
Trade organisations
Trade Union Centre of Curaçao
GDP$3 billion (2008 est.)[1]
GDP growth
3.5% (2008 est.)
GDP per capita
$22,619 (2012 est.)
GDP by sector
agriculture: 1%; industry: 15%; services: 84% (2009 est.)
1.7% (2009 est.)[1]
Labour force
63,000 (2008 est.)
Labour force by occupation
agriculture: 1.2%; industry: 16.9%; services: 81.8% (2006)
Unemployment10.3% (2008 est.)
Main industries
Tourism, Petroleum Refining, Petroleum Transshipment Facilities, Light Manufacturing, Financial Services
Exports$876 million (2008 est.)
Export goods
Petroleum products
Main export partners
 United States 13.1%
 Guatemala 10.8%
 Singapore 10.7%
 Dominican Republic 9.6%
 Haiti 7.6%
 Bahamas 6.1%
 Honduras 4.5%
 Mexico 4.2% (2009 est.)
Imports$1.34 billion (2008 est.)
Import goods
Food and Crude Petroleum
Main import partners
 Venezuela 57.3%
 United States 19.2%
 Brazil 8.1% (2009 est.)[1]
Public finances
$1.0 billion[2]

All values, unless otherwise stated, are in US dollars.


Early in its history, Curaçao's economy was centered on salt mining from saline-rich ponds located in the eastern part of the island. Up until that time, dating back to the 16th century, settlers (first Spanish and later Dutch) made numerous, failed attempts at creating an agricultural industry. Curaçao's arid climate, which features few freshwater sources, made it difficult and unprofitable.

Although the island's geography was at first considered an obstacle economically, it later proved to be invaluable due to its ideal location for trade and commerce. Shipping and trading operations centered on the port of Willemstad played an important role in the development of the economy.

In the early 20th century, discovery of oil in Venezuela caused major oil companies to invest in the region. Beginning in 1920, oil refining has become a key part of the island's economy, representing nearly 90% of its exports.[6]

During WWII, Curaçao was a safe-haven for Dutch multi-national companies, beginning the island's history as a financial services center.

Tourism is also becoming an increasingly important sector of the economy. The construction of the Mega Pier has recently allowed larger cruise ships to dock at Curaçao, increasing its position as a tourism destination.


Curaçao is a popular tourism location for the Eastern United States, South America, the Netherlands and Germany. It leads the Caribbean in cruise tourism growth with 610,186 cruise passengers in 2013, a 41.4% increase over the prior year.[7] Hato International Airport received 1,772,501 passengers in 2013 and recently announced $48 million in capital investments aimed at transforming the airport into a regional hub by 2018. Beginning in early 2014, the Lynx rocketplane is expected to be flying suborbital space tourism flights and scientific research missions from a new spaceport on Curaçao.[8][9] The island lies outside of the Hurricane belt and has a well-developed tourism infrastructure.

Curaçao's coast has a sharp drop-off known as the "Blue Edge" which makes it a popular scuba diving destination. Coral reefs for snorkeling and scuba diving can be reached without a boat. The southern coast has calm waters as well as many small beaches, such as Jan Thiel and Cas Abou. The coastline of Curaçao features numerous bays and inlets which serve as popular mooring locations for boats.

Some of the coral reefs are affected by tourism. Porto Marie Beach is experimenting with artificial coral reefs in order to improve the reef's condition. Hundreds of artificial coral blocks that have been placed are now home to a large array of tropical fish.

Oil refining

SPT Champion in Curaçao
Oil tanker departing from the port of Willemstad

The discovery of oil in the Maracaibo Basin of Venezuela in the early 20th century forced the Venezuelan government to search for ideal locations for large scale refining. Curaçao's proximity to the country, naturally deep harbors, and stable government led Royal Dutch Shell to construct the Isla oil refinery, the largest refinery in the world at the time. The refinery is located in the Schottegat, the natural harbour beyond Willemstad and began operating in 1918.[10]

Presently Venezuela's state oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) operates the Isla refinery, which has a 320,000 barrel per day capacity .[2][11]

In 2017, negotiations were underway with a Chinese company, Guangdong Zhenrong Energy (GZE). In July, the discussions were suspended but Prime Minister Rhuggenaath announced that he would travel to China later in the year to reopen negotiations.[12][13][14]

Financial services

Curaçao's history in financial services dates from World War I with the conversion of the financial arms of local merchant houses into commercial banks. As the economy grew, these banks began assuming additional functions eventually becoming full-fledged financial institutions. The Dutch Caribbean Securities Exchange is located in the capital of Willemstad, as is the Central Bank of Curaçao and Sint Maarten; the latter of which dates to 1828 making it the oldest central bank in the Western Hemisphere. The island's legal system supports a wide variety of corporate structures and is a popular corporate haven. Curaçao is considered a tax haven yet it adheres to the EU Code of Conduct against harmful tax practices. It holds a qualified intermediary status from the United States I.R.S. and is an accepted jurisdiction of the OECD and Caribbean Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering. The country strongly enforces Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism funding compliance.

See also


  1. ^ a b c "CIA Factbook Curacao Data". Retrieved 2011-01-04.
  2. ^ a b "Curacao's Deal BBC Caribbean". 2010-10-08.
  3. ^ "1609_1_DEZ_Manual_binnenw.qxd" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-10-10.
  4. ^ (2001-03-01). "Ecommerce at Curaçao Corporate". Retrieved 2009-05-23.
  5. ^ "Economic Data Overview". Retrieved 2009-05-23.
  6. ^ "Unlike many islands in the Caribbean, Curaçao's economy is heavily based on oil refining". Retrieved 2010-11-21.
  7. ^ Caribbean Journal staff (2014-02-14). "Curacao Leading Caribbean in Cruise Tourism Growth". Retrieved 2014-02-14.
  8. ^ Staff writers (October 6, 2010). "Space Experience Curaçao Announces Wet Lease of XCOR Lynx Suborbital". Space Media Network Promotions. Retrieved 2010-10-06.
  9. ^ "Space Experience Curaçao". Home. Space Experience Curaçao. 2009–2010. Retrieved 2010-10-06.
  10. ^ "ISLA Refinery of Curacao: Highs and Lows Part 1". 2010-02-16.
  11. ^ "Curacao oil refinery down on power outage". Reuters. 2008-04-09.
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
Cake Network

The Cake Network was a Curaçao based online poker network owned and operated by parent company Cake Gaming NV.

Cake Network was founded in 2004 and launched its first network skin, Cake Poker, in June 2006. Other network partners followed, including, Red Star Poker and BetUS.

As of April 2010 the Cake Network saw a steep decline in player traffic as the company lost two major poker rooms, PlayersOnly and, to the Merge Gaming Network. Even with the addition of new rooms to the network, Cake continued to lose ground on the rest of the industry. In January 2011, Cake Network's well-known partner Doyles Room left the Cake Network, moving to the Yatahay Network.Cake Poker offered a variety of stakes and types of online poker games including: Texas hold 'em, Omaha High / Hi-Lo and Telesina. At one time, Cake Poker was the only site of the 10 largest in the world which allowed players to regularly change their screen names.Cake became notorious among both professional and amateur poker players for not paying cash out requests in good time as stated in its terms and conditions.In June 2012 Lock Poker purchased the Cake Poker network, renaming it the Revolution Gaming Network

Caribbean guilder

The Caribbean guilder (Dutch: Caribische gulden) is the proposed currency of the Caribbean islands, and constituent countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Curaçao and Sint Maarten, which formed after the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles on October 10, 2010. As of January 2018, the Caribbean guilder has not been introduced.Since 2018 banknotes and coins, which are not in production pending decision on the currency, now require replacement and there were only two years of Antilles guilder remaining and there was still a possibility that the islands could opt for the dollar or euro instead.

Central Bank of Curaçao and Sint Maarten

The Central Bank of Curaçao and Sint Maarten (Dutch: Centrale Bank van Curaçao en Sint Maarten, previously the Bank of the Netherlands Antilles) is the central bank for the Netherlands Antillean guilder and administers the monetary policy of Curaçao and Sint Maarten. The bank dates to 1828 making it the oldest central bank in the Americas.Prior to the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles in October 2010, the bank was responsible for monetary policy throughout the Netherlands Antilles. When the BES islands became subject to the central bank of the Netherlands, its present name was adopted.

The bank is expected to replace the Netherlands Antillean guilder with the Caribbean guilder in the coming years.

Central Bank of Suriname

The Central Bank of Suriname (Dutch: Centrale Bank van Suriname) is Suriname’s highest monetary authority and the country’s governing body in monetary and economic affairs.

The Central Bank’s tasks were legislated in the Bank Act of 1956. Like other central banks, it is the principal monetary authority of the country. Other tasks include the promotion of the value and stability of the currency of Suriname, the provision of money circulation, the safeguarding of private banking and credit union activities, together with balanced socio-economic development.

The Central Bank is headed by a Governor and divided into three directorates: Banking Operations, Monetary and Economic Affairs and Supervision.


Curaçao (; Dutch: Curaçao, pronounced [kyːraːˈsʌu, kuː-]; Papiamento: Kòrsou, pronounced [ˈkorsou]) is a Lesser Antilles island in the southern Caribbean Sea and the Dutch Caribbean region, about 65 km (40 mi) north of the Venezuelan coast. It is a constituent country (Dutch: land) of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

The country was formerly part of the Curaçao and Dependencies colony (1815–1954) and is now formally called the Country of Curaçao (Dutch: Land Curaçao; Papiamento: Pais Kòrsou); it includes the main island of Curaçao and the uninhabited island of Klein Curaçao ("Little Curaçao"). Curaçao has a population over 160,000 in an area of 444 km2 (171 sq mi) and its capital is Willemstad.

Before the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles on 10 October 2010, Curaçao was administered as the "Island Territory of Curaçao" (Dutch: Eilandgebied Curaçao, Papiamento: Teritorio Insular di Kòrsou), one of five island territories of the former Netherlands Antilles.

Curaçao reaal

The reaal was the currency of Curaçao until 1828. It was subdivided into 6 stuiver, with 20 stuiver equal to the Dutch gulden.

Dutch Caribbean Securities Exchange

The Dutch Caribbean Securities Exchange (DCSX) is a self-regulatory international Exchange for the listing and trading in domestic- and international securities ; simply put, it is a platform where companies can register to get funds, for instance for expansion, and investors can invest in these registered companies. The DCSX realizes that for the international business community to prosper, startups as well as small and medium-sized enterprises must be in the position to attract capital on a regulated and practically oriented exchange and to do so at fair costs. It is this startup and SME community that the DCSX is focused on servicing.In order to get your company registered, or listed, at the DCSX, you first need a Listing Adivsor of the DCSX. The Listing Advisor will guide you before, during and after the listing process, the process of your company's registration.

Index of Curaçao-related articles

This is an alphabetical list of Curaçao-related articles.

Tafelberg (Curaçao)

Tafelberg (Table Mountain) is a large flat-topped hill in Curaçao, an island state in the Dutch Caribbean.

The Tafelberg mesa is in southeastern Curaçao, near the Santa Barbara beach. It is 240 metres (790 ft) high, making it only the fourth-highest point on Curaçao behind the 372 metres (1,220 ft) Christoffelberg and two intermediate peaks, all in the volcanic northwest of the island. It is formed mostly of the Quaternary limestone that forms the south-east of Curaçao, although there are also commercially-significant phosphate and calcareous sand deposits.

Fossils of Pleistocene giant tortoises, Chelonoidis, of an estimated 80 centimetres (31 in) carapace length have been found in fill deposits.The vegetation of the area is sparse, owing to the endemic lack of water on Curaçao. Comparisons of grazed and inaccessibly ungrazed areas show that the natural vegetation was predominantly of the bromeliad Tillandsia flexuosa, but that this could not tolerate grazing and since the introduction of livestock by humans, primarily goats, has largely been replaced by annual grasses, prickly pear and shrubby acacias.

See also
Associate members
Related organizations
Greater Antilles
Leeward Antilles
Leeward Islands
Windward Islands
Other islands
Continental coasts
Economies of the dependencies of European Union states European Union
United Kingdom
Economy of the Americas
Sovereign states

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